I met back up with my Aussie trekking buddy and prepped for the next trailhead. Continuing through Cape Horn along the Straights of Magellan and in route to the most southern point on the mainland of Chile.
We had planned to be 15 minutes early, but to our surprise, we were actually 15 minutes late for our ride. Incorrect information giving is not uncommon in the lovely Latin American culture. In fact, I more or less expect it these days.
What to do? Crystal pulls out a bar of emergency chocolate and we began to eat our frustrations away. …a lightbulb goes on in my head. I walk over to the man at the window and started getting information for my potential plan… I haven’t been able to check ‘Hitchhiking in Patagonia’ off my list yet – now I have the perfect opportunity!
When I sprung the idea on Crystal she looked at me with a bit of concern. What’s the worst that could happen if we get stuck without a ride? Camp in a ditch in the freezing cold rain in a foreign country? Okay.
Naturally it’s raining when we get to Ruta 9. I throw up my thumb. One car… two cars… and the third pulls over! I ask the man where he’s headed and our new friend, Keko, tells us he’ll get us half way. The white Subaru was fantastically full. Full of rubbish and anything/everything else. There was given trash on the floor, random dusty boxes, a slide projector and stand, and at one point we actually pulled over to pick up a peat brick on the side of the road because he said it would be a great fire starter. We yelled back and forth in conversation over the heater that had 2 options – off or maxed out. He must have taken a liking to us because soon he was saying he was worried about us getting there and that he’d take us all the way… after we checked on his cows.
We stopped at his farm and got the history of the land and how the agriculture down here works. Then we continued our tour on the back roads to a lagoon where him and his father used to fish. Soon back to the Straights and nearing our drop off point, but our Patagonian friend forgot about this when he saw a new bridge and decided to keep driving…
He told us he did a motorcycle trip down here with some friends a long time ago and that they had to wait for the rivers to lower to drive through. Now with the excitement of the new bridge he was in adventure mode and thought we should go exploring on the other side with the Subaru. Over the bridge and along the coast. Everything was flooding along the trail and soon we we’re bottoming out and splashing through the puddles. Up ahead I saw a small river overtaking our path. This didn’t seem to phase Keko or the Subaru. The first one was okay, but the second was more than questionable. There was some nervousness in the air as water engulfed us and then the car started shaking. Then we all started shaking and steam began rolling out from under the hood. He looked at me and said, I think we should turn around. Good idea. Shockingly we made it back through the “puddles” and to the road.
I’d like to say the car’s conditions improved, but they didn’t. I’d like to say the weather improved, but it got worse. It’s okay though because I got to “The End of the World”.